This is such an extreme statement. A college professor once told me of people who took this far enough to actually amputate themselves. What a way to handle an obviously hyperbolic language. Sadly, religion still gets this verse wrong. This quote has been taken to mean avoid anything that tempts you to do bad things. It includes, “Don’t turn on the news if it makes you angry about politics. Don’t drive on that street if you will be tempted by the girls on that billboard.”
This interpretation is based on a false view of sin and is too dependent on week human flesh. It fails to produce God’s life. Our hearts are still flooded with the serpent’s wisdom.
Once you realize that sin is to have eternal life apart from God, it’s obvious that this statement is saying to stop finding your life by the things of the world. The hand and eye are good examples because they seem like the most basic things we need for life.
Now to further discuss this, you need to know that if you check the Greek, Jesus was not talking about some place where bad people get tortured when the word “Hell” is shown in the English translations. In fact, Hell is the name of the Anglo-Saxon underworld. If you’s seen the film Thor: Ragnorok, you will remember that the main villain was named Hela. In the original mythology, she was named Hel.
The Greek word translated as Hell is Gehena. Gehena refers to the valley of Hinnom. It’s a real valley outside Jerusalem. In the old testament, sacrifices to false gods were made in Hinnom. Jeremiah prophesied of fire and destruction in Hinnom. By the time of Jesus, the Jews thought the wicked would be executed there when the messiah returned and the dead are resurrected.
This shows us that Gehenna was the word Jesus used to talk about the second death. The second death happens when Jesus returns, the dead are resurrected, and those who don’t accept eternal life experience an eternal death of nonexistance. They die because they do not accept God’s free gift of eternal life.
What Jesus is saying that you need to stop finding your life in the things of the world. Those things really won’t matter if you end up dead. But once you let go of the life of in the world and accept God’s promise of eternal life, you won’t die. Living is more important than what this world has to offer.
This is why the heresy of eternal torment in Hell is so dangerous. It takes the focus off of the truth that eternal life only comes from God. When I realized this, the things of the world started diminishing as I saw that they had no ability to raise me from the grave. I’m single. I want to get married. If I don’t, so what? A wife can’t raise me from the grave.
What do Warren Buffett and I have in common? We are both going to die. I might not have as much money as him, but God will resurrect me and give me immortality.
In summaray, eternal life comes from God and not the world.